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Guest Column: 2017 will surely see content evolution in India with social surround playing a key role: Sunil Buch, ZEEL

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Guest Column: 2017 will surely see content evolution in India with social surround playing a key role: Sunil Buch, ZEEL

As we move into the New Year, Sunil Buch, Chief Business Officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) recalls the highlights of 2016 and what to expect in the broadcast space in 2017.

2016 saw social media evolving rapidly. It included the debut of some noteworthy initiatives like Pokemon Go which captivated the world with augmented reality, WhatsApp launched video calling, Google launched Duo and Allo and Facebook introduced 360° photograph and video upload. With the introduction of disruptive business models and innovative technologies, television is transforming itself. Social media is all pervasive and to reach one’s target audience, brands need to be consistently present on multiple social platforms. This will be crucial in establishing one’s brand identity and enabling better brand recall.  2017 will surely see a content evolution in India with social surround playing a key role.

Being highly engaged and if given the opportunity, social media users will participate and help brands co-create content. It’s also largely because of social media that television is becoming an interactive and communal experience. Any content we watch is best experienced live, because that’s when everyone else is watching, too. Factors like smartphones, live streaming apps, expanding internet connectivity, cutting edge technology and social networking have transformed the experience of watching television from linear to an era of “Anytime, Anywhere and Any Device” availability of content.

Active groups on social media are a great place to share specific content because members are in the groups based on their interests. At Zindagi, we are constantly planning our outreach to engage our target audience. The tech savvy generation brings in mass awareness. They give it authenticity, because they are sharing it in their friends and family groups. If a referral is made by your friend, you’re much more likely to check it rather than if it comes from a brand. Activating niche social influencers is also a must and with the increasing need to ‘target’ content, we can expect innovation in this sphere. The innovation will probably be consolidated because of the mergers. For instance, Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram among others; Twitter owns Periscope; Google has YouTube; Microsoft owns Yammer and LinkedIn.

This October 3, Zindagi streamed some of its primetime line-up live on Periscope taking the lead to be the first Indian television channel to do so. This enabled viewers to enjoy some of the shows live and on-the go, anytime, anywhere on their internet connected devices.  The innovative live stream association with Periscope was a part of the robust marketing campaign designed to deliver both the core and surround across all traditional and digital mediums about Zindagi. The channel’s campaign dominated mediums like DTH, cinema and mobile and initiated with a simple yet thought provoking catchphrase ‘#ZindagiKehtiHai’ that was designed to create conversation around our life, our Zindagi.

With consumers spending 80 percent of their time on their mobiles, creating surround focus on mobile users is the need of the hour. Zindagi invests extensively in personalization. We are working on creating experiences like the winners selected to meet their favourite Turkish actors in Mumbai or the Tata Sky subscribers who have won an all-expenses paid trip to Turkey after participating in a contest held by Zindagi and Tata Sky. We will create 360° videos to spotlight our viewer experiences on their visit to Turkey. Content isn’t just about telling consumers what to expect anymore, but helping them experience it.

(The author is Sunil Buch, Chief Business Officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL))

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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